Armour and String Theory’s “Learn to Stitch” event celebrates sustainable fashion

Lydia McKelvie | Contributing Writer

With the days becoming colder and finals looming in the near future, I had been thinking about how nice it would be to bury myself into a traditional and cozy craft. Luckily, String Theory was way ahead of me. In their recent “Learn to Stitch” event, they showcased the merits of needlecraft as both a sustainable activity and something just plain fun.

As the campus knitting and crocheting club, String Theory hosts regular meetings in addition to events and service projects. At this particular event, members of the club taught attendees how to make their own sustainable fashion wear.

The event, put on in collaboration with student-run fashion magazine Armour, included a presentation about sustainable knitting. The presentation also included ideas for recycling and upcycling products into new crafts, such as repurposing T-shirts into a rug or plastic bags into a woven tote-bag.

“In an effort to keep up with the trends but keep prices low, fashion companies have invested in materials that are harmful for the environment, and they throw away tons of fabric everyday,” Armour member junior Simone Hanna wrote in a statement to Student Life. “This has made fashion one of the least sustainable industries despite the mainstream push towards environmentally-friendly business practices.”

However, the focus of the event was on what knitting itself can do for sustainability as a step away from fast fashion. This point was brought home not only by the informative tutorials but by the finished products that various club members had brought and displayed. They had made everything from blankets to crop tops, and gave me some serious inspiration for my next knitting project, besides the scarf I’ve been attempting to finish for years.

“Sustainable fashion is a way for the environmentally conscious consumer to lead a lifestyle that not only ensures the longevity of our planet, but also discourages large wasteful fashion brands by not giving them money to continue these harmful practices,” Hanna wrote.

The members of the group take immense pride in these projects, sharing pattern sources and project ideas across the room and admiring each other’s work constantly throughout the event. They also talked about the many uses of their projects, from Christmas presents for their friends and family to decorations for their suites.

“For people who are new to knitting, great ideas are little bookmarks, washcloths or potholders, which are nice and easy,” String Theory member sophomore Hannah Possehl said. “Right now I’m working on a blanket, so that’s my favorite project so far.”

Being a knitter myself, I decided to try my hand at crochet. It was a tough process at first, but members of the group were patient and encouraging teachers. After many tries and more than a few tangles, I managed to stitch three whole rows before returning to my comfort zone of knitting once again. This seemed to be the normal progression of the attendees, learning a lot but not necessarily making much progress on a project. However, before we could be discouraged at the close of the event, we were told we could keep our supplies so we could continue on our own.

In a campus environment where environmentalism is constantly pushed to the forefront, the pressure to be perfectly sustainable can be a big source of anxiety. While you cannot switch to having zero environmental impact overnight, you can take steps in the right direction through pursuing sustainable fashion. The “Learn to Stitch” event showed me how sustainable fashion can not only be attainable to the average college student, but be a fun and rewarding process and the perfect cozy winter activity!

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